HC Deb 23 April 1996 vol 276 cc103-4W
Mr. Redmond

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the health risks to humans from food grown following(a) the use of bonemeal and (b) the practice of ploughing in abattoir and butchers' animal waste; [23327]

(2) if he will make a statement on the risks to health of gardeners who use bonemeal made from beef cattle bones. [23323]

Mr. Horam

It is not considered that there is a risk to human health from the use of bonemeal for horticultural purposes or from eating food grown following its use. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy infected animals are incinerated and specified bone material is destroyed and is not used as bonemeal for any purpose. The spreading of waste on land for the benefit of agriculture or ecological improvement, including abattoir waste consisting of blood and gut contents from animals slaughtered for human consumption, is a recovery operation for the purposes of the amended European Community framework directive on waste. The spreading of waste for these purposes is controlled under part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994. It must be carried out without endangering animals or human health or posing a risk to the environment. Codes of practice have been issued in Great Britain which offer farmers and others spreading waste for these purposes guidance on good practice.

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